When it comes to superhero movies we have the MCU and the DCEU. Now from Indonesia, we have the Skylarverse. Or the start of it anyways. Skylar Comics and its offshoot Skylar Films have given us Valentine: The Dark Avenger. Released in its homeland simply as Valentine in 2017 to little notice it’s been retitled and brought to North America by Shout Factory through its Shout! Studios division.
Srimaya (Estelle Linden, They Who Are Not Seen) has dropped out of college to become an actress. Right now though she’s a waitress in a cafe. When a couple of goons get rough with one of the other waitresses she puts a beat-down on them. This catches the eye of Bono (Matthew Settle, Ouija, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer) and Wawan (Arie Dagienkz, The Lost Briefcase) two would-be filmmakers.
They have an idea for a reality show type super-heroine project, and Srimaya is perfect for the role. Things go well at first as she makes short work of common street criminals. But can she handle the masked villain Shadow and his crew show up?
Shot on what would be a rather low budget for a US-based film of its kind, Valentine: The Dark Avenger makes good use of Indonesia’s lower costs. It also works around the issues that would drive up the budget. It takes its cues more from Kick-Ass than Captain Marvel. No fancy superpowers that require special effects, just plenty of fight scenes and melee weapons. There is quite a bit of CGI fire and explosions. It’s of variable quality, but overall director Ubay Fox (Rasuk) does quite good for a low budget film.
Of course, it’s the fights that are the highlight of Valentine: The Dark Avenger. And there are plenty, staged in all manner of locations. In a store, a warehouse with what looks suspiciously like an MMA cage, a moving SUV, rooftops, etc. The choreography is, as we’ve come to expect from Indonesian films, excellent.
Valentine: The Dark Avenger is a fun, fast-paced film that makes a nice change from the blockbuster superhero films the big studios are pumping out. It ends with the promise of a sequel, and I’d like to see it happen.
Valentine: The Dark Avenger is available on Blu Ray, DVD and VOD via Shout Studio.